Yesterday we went to Mobile Monday Brussels. Mobile Mondays are community events for:
[...] mobile industry visionaries, developers and influential individuals. The Mobile Monday spirit is one of open innovation and is seen as a catalyst for mobile innovations.
All around a central theme: “When marketing meets mobile”. The organizers in Belgium would like to keep it small and informal for now to let it grow organically. In September this year around 20 participants showed up, this time 46 people subscribed. It's growing already.
Fabian Tilmant from Cleverwoods spoke about “Mobile Advertising: what can we expect in Belgium”. He explained why mobile internet needs more ‘mobile platforms’ to see its breakthrough. Platforms are needed as a basic layer for advertising and he explained that a mobile model can't succeed without advertising.
Although I do agree that advertising is an important factor, I don't think you always need advertisements. The mobile De Standaard site (a Belgian newspaper) doesn't inlcude adds and still everyone keeps mentioning them (or is this free advertising I'm promoting here?).
Especially with the limited screen real estate and a low user attention level we'll need a different kind of advertising, banners just won't do it. I think you'll need to give the user something back for the time he invests in your ad: sponsored content maybe or a sponsored mobile game? The free version of Twitterific includes non-obstructive ads, is this the way to go?
- Jean-Paul de Ville was supposed to demo Pumbby, a service that pays you to receive ads on your mobile phone. I was looking forward to this one but Jean-Paul was ill. Now I still don't know why this happy sounding name needs two B's. Oh well...
After the presentations everyone introduced himself briefly. This wouldn't have been possible in a larger event but here it worked out perfectly. In my opinion it lowered the barrier for the networking later on and showed what companies are interested in mobile platforms today. It seems most participants have a media/advertisement background but it was nice to see De Lijn (public bus and tram service in Flanders) was there as well as I like to complain about the lack of mobile support on their site.
The NMBS (Belgian national railway operator) and De Lijn are really important companies to promote mobile internet in Belgium. If they could provide their mobile platform (with an API if possible) with the bus and train schedules it could be a huge boost for mobile internet if you ask me. I'm pretty sure the developer community could take over from than on and create mobile widgets or mashups that find the next bus home (delays included) when your train arrives.
I had a great discussion with the guys from Microsoft as well, about the need for a company to embrace mobile platforms or not. Even though our views differ I liked to exchange thoughts.
Still interested? Have a look at the Mobile Monday Amsterdam post I wrote earlier this month.